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Ariz. secretary of state, treasurer say governor should veto anti-gay bill

Phoenix Economic Council leader says backlash against the state has already begun
Saturday, February 22, 2014
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PHOENIX — Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Treasurer Doug Ducey, both GOP candidates for governor, say a bill allowing business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs should be vetoed.

Ariz. Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), left, and Treasurer Doug Ducey (R).

Ariz. Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), left, and Treasurer Doug Ducey (R).

Bennett and Ducey join the growing list of state leaders and Republican gubernatorial candidates who say Gov. Jan Brewer should veto the bill, SB 1062, that was passed in the state legislature this week.

Several other GOP gubernatorial candidates have also weighed in on the measure. (Brewer is term-limited.)

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and attorney Christine Jones, also seeking the GOP nomination in the August primary, said Friday they don’t support the measure either.

Bennett called it unnecessary and divisive, Smith said it has the potential to negatively affect basic rights, including freedom of religion, and Jones said it should be withdrawn to avoid damaging the state’s reputation and economic growth.

Candidates Andrew Thomas and Frank Riggs didn’t offer statements on the bill, and state Sen. Al Melvin voted for its passage.

Among non-candidates, Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, said Friday that Arizona’s economy would suffer a “grave, self-inflicted wound” if the bill becomes law.

And on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted, “I hope Governor Brewer vetoes SB 1062.”

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Barry Broome, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said his office had quick reaction to the bill, telling KPHO-TV that four companies considering expansion in the Phoenix area have crossed Arizona off their lists.

Another business that was planning to invest $100 million in the state has put its deal on hold, and two companies indicated today that they’ve been fired, because the clients don’t want to do business in Arizona, said Broome.

Broome said the controversial bill will complicate the state’s brand, just as it is gearing up to host next year’s Super Bowl.

“If the governor doesn’t veto this bill, the effect on Arizona will be instantaneous and devastating,” he said.

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